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Welcome to Fit to the Core’s “Everything you ever wanted to know about fitness” blog. Everyday people are bombarded with conflicting health and fitness messages by the media. It can be overwhelming. I hope to clear up some of those conflicting messages by sharing what I have learned over the years and what I am still learning. The fitness industry is a young industry that is constantly changing and evolving. Let me clear up some of the confusion.

Beverly Brewer Karpinski

More on Eating Well: Functional Foods

I know we’re all trying to keep our food costs down, however, we need to remember that the quality of our food is also important.


There are certain foods that we should be including in our diet – what is called “functional” foods – and those foods or ingredients that we should be keeping out of our diets as much as possible.

Functional foods go beyond nutrients.  They have a thereupeudic quality to them that can help in the prevention of disease in our bodies.  These are foods such as antioxidants, probiotics, essential fatty acids, and foods that have an antibiotic effect in our bodies.  Antioxidants help protect against free radical damage in our body, reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases.  They counteract the damage caused to our body from too much stress.  Foods rich in antioxidants usually come from the fruit and vegetable group.  One of the most important antioxidants, in my opinion, are berries, especially blueberries.

Probioticsinclude cultured or fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented milk, and miso.  You can also get them in supplement form.  Probiotics are live microorganisms similar to the friendly bacteria that is found in our gut.   They help to improve our immune system, digest and absorb nutrients, and help to offset the effects of antibiotics.

Essential fatty acids are the good fats that our body needs.  Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you still need to make sure you include some healthy fats in your diet each day.  Research has shown that essential fatty acids may help prevent against heart disease and other health conditions.  There are two types of essential fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.  Our bodies need a balance between the two.  Since  we usually get plenty of the omega-6 in our diet, focus on the omega-3 fats, which is believed to reduce inflammation in our bodies (omega-6 fats tend to increase inflammation).  However, even though these fats are good for you – use them sparingly.  Fat is more calorie dense than carbohydrates or protein.  A little goes a long way.  Some foods to include are salmon, tuna, avacados, olive oil, and nuts and seeds.  If you don’t like fish, you may want to consider supplementing your diet with fish oil.

You can enhance your health by including foods that act as a natural antibiotic without the side effects of pharmaceutical antibiotics.  They can help protect you from getting colds or the flu by enhancing our immune system.  My two favorites foods in this catagory are garlic and onions.  I eat garlic everyday.  My husband, the cook in the house, really gets carried away with the garlic.  However, we rarely get sick!

Okay, what to avoid.  Well, there is a lot to avoid.  It would take me all day to give you a comlplete list.  It’s important that you read your food labels and educate yourself about the ingredients of the foods you eat.  However, there are two items I want to bring to your attention.  They are hydrogenated oil, also known as partially hydrogenated oil or trans fatty acids, and high fructose corn syrup.  These are two ingredients you will not find in my house.  I refuse to buy any foods that list these on their labels.  These ingredients have had a huge negative impact on the health of individuals in the United States and are believed by some experts to be the cause of the obesity epidemic in our country.  You can find these items in bakery items, snack foods, pancake syrup,  sodas and other sugary drinks.  You will even find them in some so-called health foods, such as yogurt.  It’s hard to find a yogurt in the grocery store that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it.  Removing these two items from your diet is one of the best ways of improving your health.  However, those of you who eat out often will have a difficult time doing this.  When you eat out don’t be afraid to ask about the food preparation and ingredients of the items on the menu.  Some restaurants put this information on their websites.

Remember, on your way to eating frugally – don’t get too frugal -quality counts!

About the author

Beverly Brewer Karpinski
Beverly Brewer Karpinski
• Owner and director of "Fit to the Core" In-Home Personal Training
• Health and Fitness Inc. Certified Personal Trainer, 2001
• A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, 2004
• Certified Master Fitness by Phone Coach, 2005
• Strength & Conditioning Personal Trainer Certificate, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ, 2008
• Wellness Editor, Puma Press, 2007-2008
• Currently in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise & Wellness.
• Fitness Manager & Director, Curves for Women, 2004-2006
• In-Home personal training, 2002-Present
• Personal Trainer, Naturally Women, 2004-2006
• Personal Trainer, Total Woman, 2001-2004
• Core Stability Specialty Training, Health and Fitness, Inc., 2001
• Advanced Biomechanics Training, Health and Fitness, Inc., 2001

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